News

Sculpture planned to honor Ray Bradbury at Waukegan Public Library

Post date: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 8:35am

On behalf of the Ray Bradbury Statue Committee, a group of city leaders and citizens passionate about memorializing the talent of native son Ray Bradbury, the Waukegan Public Library is pleased to announce the following request for qualifications for a new statue of Ray Bradbury to be erected at the Library. Interested sculptors are invited to submit an application package giving the Committee an overview of their qualifications and proposal for the new statue.

Letter from Richard Lee, Chair

Request for Qualifications

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Amanda Civitello, Marketing & Communications Mgr.
Waukegan Public Library
amandacivitello [at] waukeganpl [dot] info | 847-775-2560

Sculpture planned to honor Ray Bradbury at Waukegan Public Library
Ray Bradbury Statue Committee issues Request for Qualifications

Waukegan, IL; October 5, 2015 — The Ray Bradbury Statue Committee (RBSC) on Monday, October 5 issued a Request for Qualifications for sculptors to memorialize author Ray Bradbury in his hometown of Waukegan with a work of art at the Waukegan Public Library. Application packages in response to this RFQ must be submitted by Friday, December 11, 2015. Three finalists will be chosen from the applicant pool and tasked with developing a detailed sculpture proposal. The RBSC’s RFQ provides little in the way of artistic constraints, hoping rather to elicit a variety of creative and thoughtful proposals. The RBSC has budgeted a total of $125, 000 for this project thanks to a concerted fundraising effort.

Bradbury was born in Waukegan, and frequently drew on his childhood memories of his hometown for his writing. “Green Town,” the town featured in Dandelion Wine, Farewell Summer, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, is a fictionalization of his boyhood home. Bradbury is best known for his dystopian masterpiece Fahrenheit 451 and for prescient, disquieting science fiction and horror stories published as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man. Bradbury was also the author of numerous short stories, plays, screenplays, and television scripts. The Waukegan Public Library commemorates Bradbury’s gift with an annual Storytelling Festival each October – Bradbury’s favorite time of year.

“As a permanent piece of public art, a statue would be the best way to commemorate Bradbury’s remarkable creativity, the timelessness of his stories, and his love for Waukegan,” said RBSC Committee Chair Richard Lee. “It seems fitting that the town that so inspired his writing should honor him in this way.”

The Bradbury statue will be the centerpiece of the Waukegan Public Library’s proposed Story Garden. The Library’s planned landscape renovation will transform its rear parking lot into an outdoor learning space, providing opportunities for nature storytimes and an expansion of the Library’s extremely popular children’s garden.

This opportunity is open to all professional sculptors with public art experience working in the United States. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the Library’s website at waukeganpl.org/news/Bradbury-Statue to learn more. All materials should be submitted to Richard Lee, Executive Director of the Waukegan Public Library and Chair of the Ray Bradbury Statue Committee no later than Friday, December 11, 2015.

 

###

Sources:

Richard Lee (Executive Director, Waukegan Public Library; Chair, Ray Bradbury Statue Committee), richardlee [at] waukeganpl [dot] info; 847-623-2041 ext. 250

About the Ray Bradbury Statue Committee: Composed of Waukegan citizens, elected officials, and Bradbury fans, the Ray Bradbury Statue Committee was formed to create a permanent sculpture to honor Waukegan’s native son. With this statue, the committee hopes to establish a significant public art collection for the City of Waukegan. Waukegan is already home to a full-size, bronze statue of celebrated actor and comedian Jack Benny.

About the Waukegan Public Library:The Waukegan Public Library is dedicated to empowering and enriching the lives of Waukegan residents through learning, from early childhood to adulthood. The Library’s educational programming includes an award-winning literacy and language program; GED preparation, homework assistance, and more. Its 2015 renovation completely transformed the main floor into a learning-focused library space ready to meet the needs of its patrons by creating spaces for art exhibits, collaboration, and quiet study and increasing the number of classrooms and tech-ready workstations. In addition, the award-winning Early Learning Center encourages children to read and interact with an immersive dual-language exhibit.

Author Michael Pitre to visit Waukegan Public Library

Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 8:55am

Michael Pitre, who served as a communications officer in the United States Marine Corps through two tours of duty in Iraq, will visit the Waukegan Public Library on Thursday, October 8, to discuss his acclaimed novel, Fives and Twenty-Fives. Pitre’s visit is one of many special events in Waukegan and surrounding areas in support of “Those Who Serve,” a two-month initiative by the Waukegan Arts Council in partnership with the City of Waukegan.

Fives and Twenty-Fives has its roots in Pitre’s experience as a Marine stationed in Iraq for two tours of duty, but it is not autobiographical in the sense that it is based on actual events that occurred during his deployments. Rather, Pitre approached his idea of writing a war novel by telling a uniquely fictional story inspired in part by the Iraqi interpreters who were essential to the Marines’ work. The “fives and twenty-fives” of the title are frequently the measure between life and death for a Marine, referring to the meterage sweeps for roadside bombs hidden in potholes. The novel follows its three main characters – Lt. Donavan, corpsman Doc Pleasant, and Kateb, the Iraqi interpreter known to the Americans as ‘Dodge’ – through experiences at war and as they adjust back to civilian life. In so doing, Pitre has constructed a novel of war that is deeply contextualized by what it means to go on living a post-war life.   

“We’re excited to welcome Michael Pitre to the library for the second book talk and signing in our ‘Those Who Serve’ writers series,” said Richard Lee, Executive Director of the Waukegan Public Library. “Fives and Twenty-Fives is a gripping novel that explores the human side of war. By following its characters into their post-war lives, the reader gets a glimpse into the lifelong bonds forged in stressful, desperate situations.”

The novel walks a tenuous balance, never becoming the action novel one might expect, but growing increasingly powerful as the depth of the war’s impact on the characters is revealed. With a narrative bouncing between the present and memory, punctuated by the cold recitation of events through documents – military communications, letters, even Facebook messages – Fives and Twenty-Fives is a compelling, contemplative look at what it means to go to war and come home again.

Pitre’s appearance is the second in Waukegan Public Library’s “Those Who Serve” writers series, which will bring three acclaimed authors to the Library for book talks, signings, and Q&A sessions this fall. The exhibit and writers series represent the Library’s contribution to “Those Who Serve,” a community-wide initiative called Waukegan ArtWise, which in its inaugural year spotlights the experiences of American service men and women.

As part of the series, Waukegan Public Library welcomed former Marine officer, artist, and author Benjamin Busch in mid-September, with Busch’s photographs on display in the Library’s lobby through November 11. Author Kirsten Holmstedt will visit the Library on November 5, 2015, 6:30pm, for a book talk and signing.  Holmstedt will discuss her book Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq.

For more information about Waukegan Public Library’s writers’ series, as well as Benjamin Busch’s ongoing “The Art in War” exhibit, please visit www.waukeganpl.org, or contact Amanda Civitello, Marketing and Communications Manager, at (847) 775-2560.

For more information on Waukegan ArtWise - “Those Who Serve,” a project of the Waukegan Arts Council in partnership with the City of Waukegan, please visit waukeganartwise.com.

Author, artist Benjamin Busch to visit Waukegan Public Library

Post date: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 - 1:57pm

“The Art In War,” an exhibit of photographs by Benjamin Busch, will open at the Waukegan Public Library on Friday, September 11, 2015. Busch, an acclaimed writer, actor, and artist who served as a commanding officer in the United States Marine Corps, will show photographs from his 2003 and 2005 deployments to Iraq and visit the library to discuss his award-winning memoir, Dust to Dust.

The photographs explore themes of war and memory by focusing on ephemera, from torn posters to bloodstained walls. It’s a gripping exercise in evoking a particular time and place, made all the more powerful by the photographer’s presence as an officer in the war he is documenting, blurring the line between observer and participant. These are documentary photographs that are not the work of a journalist; they chronicle a specific time and place without the luxury of distance.

 “The Art In War” exhibit coincides with Busch’s appearance at the Waukegan Public Library’s writers’ series, which will bring three acclaimed authors to the Library for book talks, signings, and Q&A sessions this fall. The exhibit and writers’ series represent the Library’s contribution to “Those Who Serve,” a community-wide initiative called Waukegan ArtWise, which in its inaugural year spotlights the experiences of American service men and women.

Busch will speak about his Debut-litzer Prize-winning memoir Dust to Dust at the Waukegan Public Library on Thursday, September 17, 2015, at 6:30pm. The poetic memoir travels an elegiac path through Busch’s childhood, adolescence, and service in the Marine Corps, including his two deployments to Iraq.

“We’re excited to welcome Benjamin Busch to the library for the first book talk in our ‘Those Who Serve’ writers’ series,” said Richard Lee, Executive Director of the Waukegan Public Library. “Dust to Dust is a compelling look not just at a young man’s time at war, but at the way childhood informs adulthood.”

Busch will also screen his critically-acclaimed film BRIGHT at the Library on Friday, September 18, at 4:30pm. The film, written and directed by Busch and starring Eric Nenninger and Robert Wisdom, follows a blind man who must guide a younger man to face his deepest fear.

Waukegan Public Library will welcome authors Michael Pitre and Kirsten Holmstedt for book talks and signings on October 8, 2015, and November 5, 2015, respectively. Pitre will discuss his novel Fives and Twenty-Fives, while Holmstedt will focus on her book Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq.

 “The Art In War” will run through November 11, 2015. As part of “Those Who Serve,” the exhibit will contribute to a broader discussion of what it means to serve and sacrifice in America’s armed forces. “Those Who Serve” brings together numerous community partners for two months of programming centered on these themes, including complementary exhibits at Waukegan’s Urban Edge gallery, Dandelion Gallery, Karcher 405 Gallery and the Lake County Courthouse, theatrical performances at Clockwise Theatre, Bowen Park Theatre and Three Brothers Theatre, and an ongoing writers’ series at the Waukegan Public Library. The centerpiece of the series is an exhibition of Ryan Spencer Reed’s immersive photographic installation, “Despite Similarities to Reality, This Is A Work of Fiction.”

For more information about the exhibit, as well as the Waukegan Public Library’s writers’ series, please visit www.waukeganpl.org, or contact Amanda Civitello, Marketing and Communications Manager, at (847) 775-2560.

For more information on Waukegan ArtWise - “Those Who Serve,” a project of the Waukegan Arts Council in partnership with the City of Waukegan, please visit waukeganartwise.com.